Will Shorrocks

Lessons from Bordeaux: Elevating English Wine Brands

Bordeaux, one of the principal wine capitals of the world, receives 6 million international tourists each year, with the majority travelling there to visit the region’s vineyards. Renowned for its exceptional wines and centuries-old traditions, Bordeaux has long been a model for excellence in both brand building and hospitality at an International level. Vineyards ranging from rustic to opulent, from traditional to contemporary, all vie to stand out from their neighbours and reflect the individual character of the wines they produce. As English wine begins to gain the international recognition it deserves, are there any lessons to be learned from the Bordeaux vineyards that have mastered the art of creating memorable experiences at the heart of their brands?

“Wine is an outstanding success story for Sussex. In the last few years, it has emerged as a world-class region for wine-producing and wine tourism. Pairing vineyard tours and visits with other destinations and activities is a sure-fire way of making the most of what Sussex has to offer.”
Nathaniel Hepburn, Chair of The Wine Tourism Development Agency, Sussex Modern

As an agency who have had the pleasure of working with and exploring some of the most revered vineyards in the region, we’ve compiled 6 recommendations of how it’s done in Bordeaux and how English wine brands can approach hospitality by intertwining their brands and the character of their wine in a unique and compelling way.

Beyond Tastings to Cultivated Experiences

Bordeaux’s vineyards excel in visitor engagement. Whilst many English wineries offer tours and tastings in picturesque settings, the emphasis on hospitality needs to be exceptional in order to nurture personal connection, strong word of mouth and brand loyalty.

Cultural Partnerships and Collaborations

In Bordeaux, wine marries with art, music, culture and culinary excellence, bolstered by collaborations with local artisans. English wineries can create immersive experiences by collaborating with the best global and local talents that the UK has to offer. A choice partnership, akin to a well-paired wine, enhances the essence of both the brand and the wine itself.

Fusing Tradition with Innovation

Bordeaux’s centuries-old winemaking heritage coexists with modernity. English wineries can emulate this blend by celebrating their local attributes while infusing contemporary elements. This balance portrays a narrative that respects history while embracing progress through innovative architecture and landscaping.

Crafting Authentic Brand Narratives

Bordeaux masterfully communicates its legacy. With a wealth of history to draw upon, English wineries can follow suit by sharing tales of local folklore and legends, triumphs over challenges, and the passion invested in every bottle. A well-told story fosters emotional connection and consumer engagement.

Unique Expression of Terroir

Bordeaux’s vineyards are a mosaic of terroirs, each contributing unique flavours to their wines. English vineyards can similarly emphasise their distinct local characteristics, allowing consumers to appreciate the local nuances and romantic connection with the earth.

Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability is irrevocably intertwined with Bordeaux’s DNA, through a reverence for nature and traditional practices. Sustainability resonates with consumers, reflecting responsible practices in a beautiful and natural setting and English wineries should showcase environmental stewardship, thereby reinforcing positive brand perception.

The vineyards of Bordeaux offer a wealth of insights for English wine companies seeking to elevate their brand image. Elevating English wine regions for international visitors offers a diverse tapestry of experiences unique to England, fostering a deeper appreciation for its regional treasures and forging memorable connections with its people.

By drawing on Bordeaux’s rich history, dedication to tradition and innovation, and commitment to sustainability, English vineyards can create a powerful brand story by focusing on impeccable hospitality and by crafting immersive visitor experiences they can foster loyalty and leave a lasting impression in the mind of the customer.

Whilst working on a recent project in Bordeaux with the revered Château Lynch-Bages, Jean-Charles Cazes, CEO at Famille J.M. Cazes attributed his family’s success to not only creating outstanding wines but by placing a strong emphasis on engaging with their customers.

“We are welcoming, we want to communicate a sense of hospitality. We sell wine by being open and friendly”
Jean-Charles Cazes, Château Lynch-Bages.
Will Shorrocks